Swiss Bureau signs deal to design Saudi HQ of luxury firm

Swiss Bureau signs deal to design Saudi HQ of luxury firm

Joakim de Rham
Joakim de Rham

Swiss Bureau Interior Design (Swiss Bureau) has put pen to paper on a contract to design the new headquarters of a high-end accessories company in Riyadh.

The Dubai-based interior design practice signed the contract with the client, which cannot be named due to commercial sensitivities, earlier this year.

It is the latest in a flurry of Saudi Arabian projects Swiss Bureau has won in the last 12 months, the company’s co-founder and managing director, Joakim de Rham, told Commercial Interior Design.

“We are very enthusiastic and we want to continue grow, as we have just won some projects in Saudi Arabia – last year we delivered the office for Mastercard in Saudi Arabia, we were the design consultant. Now we are doing the new headquarters for a luxury accessories company in Riyadh,” he said.

The contract for the bespoke accessories company’s headquarters was signed back in April 2019, bringing Swiss Bureau’s number of ongoing projects in the kingdom to two.

The company has continued to work with longstanding UAE bank Emirates NBD and has designed a “big office” in Saudi Arabia, after working with the financial services fit out in Dubai and Singapore.

Swiss Bureau’s mix of projects across finance and fashion have a “certain aura” that could help it “win more projects in Saudi Arabia” and strengthen its ability to export design from Dubai to global markets, Rham added.

But while some design and architecture firms such as U+A are opening offices in Saudi to cash in on in-kingdom opportunities, Swiss Bureau is not planning to launch a brick-and-mortar base yet.

“Two or three years ago we were thinking about opening a branch in Saudi Arabia, but we were so supposed to start two or three projects in parallel but they didn’t start, so we waited,” Rham said.

“Now we have two projects with others coming, which might tell us to open something [in Saudi Arabia], but today it is not a requirement.”

Swiss Bureau has 25 ongoing design projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Africa and Europe. Time will tell when the practice thinks the moment is right to set up a permanent presence in the Gulf’s biggest economy.

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